Tax avoidance is bad business, not immorality

6 12 2012

On Monday evening, Newsnight featured an intense debate about the rights and wrongs of corporate tax avoidance. The two sides vigorously put their cases, but I felt that for all its ferocity, the discussion never really came to anything.  Read the rest of this entry »


What kind of society…?

2 01 2012

The Archbishop of Canterbury has used his New Year message to challenge society about the way we deal with young people. In particular, he asks:

“What kind of society is it that lets down so many of its young people? That doesn’t provide enough good role models and drives youngsters further into unhappiness and anxiety by only showing them suspicion and negativity. When you see the gifts they can offer, the energy that can be released when they feel safe and loved, you see what a tragedy we so often allow to happen.”

A few weeks ago I wrote in the Telegraph about the need for the whole of our society to take responsibility for the development and education of our young people. I note that Dr Williams calls for individuals to take action in their local community, rather than any shift in government policy. I suspect that’s not because he is afraid of making political statements, but because he understands the nature of the challenge.

Working recently as a teacher, I began to understand the way many young people see the world around them. National governmental policies do have a big impact (university fees policy is a clear example), but they are superseded by local and immediate factors: an inspiring teacher in the classroom, for example, can nurture extra-ordinary talent. In the same way, every interaction with adults in society has an impact on young people.

I have an idea that I would love to see come to reality, but wasn’t brave enough to include in my Telegraph article. I would like to see all shop owners and bus drivers receive training on how to get the best out of young people. These are people who have regular, and sometimes difficult engagement with young people. They are, to use an overused phrase, on the frontline for us on this issue.

Some might say that government is in a good position to arrange such training, but wouldn’t it be better if Stagecoach, and the Association of British Newsagent Owners recognised for themselves the impact that they could have. Indeed, what if all of us were to heed Dr William’s thoughts about what kind of society in which we want our young brothers and sisters to grow up?

Notes from Synod (3)

12 07 2009

Crikey, I am exhausted. It’s amazing how active the role of ‘observer’ is.

Last night’s activities in the Synod Chamber were a pretty dry and straightforward discussion of the reports from the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council. Apart from the perhaps inevitable resentment towards the central institutions of the Church, nothing much to report.

Later, we moved onto the Fringe events. Us CEYC folk Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Synod (2)

11 07 2009

Just finished a fish supper in Vanbrugh Restaurant. Very frustratingly, I was a nat’s whisker away from eating with the Archbishop of Canterbury (he was just in front of me in the queue) but somebody snatched him away as we put our trays down together. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Synod

11 07 2009

It really is rather surreal to be back on campus at the University of York, but not as a student. The General Synod of the Church of England hold their Summer session here every year.

Discussion this afternoon has been dominated by financial matters. Synod were given a dramatic presentation on how the Church’s pension plans have fallen apart as a result of the recession. Read the rest of this entry »

Synod consultation

6 07 2009

I’m delighted to have been invited to join the CEYC observer group at this weekend’s Synod. The General Synod is a sort of parliament for the Church of England, and debates all sorts of things ranging from the theological to the liturgical and the administrative. Ironically, the July meeting Read the rest of this entry »

David Davis – what politicians should be about

22 05 2009

I’ve just sat in on a talk by David Davis MP hosted by the University of York Conservative and Unionist Association. As with too many of these talks, there was no title for the talk/debate – just the name of the speaker. Still, I come out of the session with rather a lot of respect for Davis. Read the rest of this entry »